Tag Archives: travel

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TRAVEL: Crossing Condotti Off my Rome Bucket List

Although there is much to see, do and eat in Rome, it’s also important to find a great place to rest your head at night. On my recent trip to Italy, I stopped briefly in Rome before making my way south to the Amalfi Coast. While in the Eternal City, I decided to forgo the usual hotel route and opt for a more intimate option, we found ourselves at Crossing Condotti.

Style Empire - Crossing Condotti Address

In a nondescript historical building, the past blends seamlessly into the present at Crossing Condotti. This charming residence offers five exclusive rooms, all finished with original wood ceilings, parquet floors, beautiful prints, paintings and furniture from the owners’ private collection.

The second you walk into your room, you immediately feel at-home and relaxed. The rooms are quite spacious and the decor is a harmonious mix of antique and contemporary. Each room is equipped with individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, high speed internet access, LCD satellite TV and L’Occitane toiletry amenities.

Style Empire - Crossing Condotti EntranceIMG_9660IMG_9550Style Empire - Crossing Condotti L'OccitaneStyle Empire - Crossing Condotti Room 2Style Empire - Crossing Condotti, Carrozze

Although the property doesn’t offer breakfast, every room is equipped with a courtesy tray, which offers biscuits and brioches, as well as the tools to make coffee, tea, cappuccino and hot chocolate. But if you really need a pick me up, just outside of the room, you can find a kitchenette complete with a Nespresso coffee machine, ice-machine and refrigerator offering free soft drinks throughout the day.
Style Empire - Crossing Condotti Nespresso

Whether you want to shop or sightsee (or better yet, both), Crossing Condotti is conveniently located. The metro is less than five minutes away and around the corner you’ll spot Piazza di Spagna in one direction (in the photo below, it’s directly behind me) and all of the luxury shops in the other (think Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, you get the idea). All of the major sights (including the Colosseum, Vatican and Trevi Fountain) are less than 20 minutes away by metro.

Style Emprie - Chenessa Lam, Via Condotti

As we mentioned earlier, Crossing Condotti is located in a quiet private residence but once you step outside, you can eat and drink to your heart’s content. There are restaurants, bars, patios and cafés lining the surrounding streets. Since there were so many options, I didn’t know where to even begin. Marco, the Room Division Manager at the Front Desk, gave us a few recommendations depending on what type of cuisine and atmosphere we wanted, and they did not disappoint.

If you’re looking for accommodations that are less commercial yet still luxurious, this charming residence is ideal for you. It’s hard to surpass the staff, location, atmosphere and accommodations at Crossing Condotti.

Prices from $320 During Off Season, $440 During Peak Season
Via Mario Dè Fiori, 28, 00187 Roma, Italy
+39 06 6992 0633

– Chenessa Lam

Disclaimer: Our media visit was hosted by the hotel, however
the opinions expressed in this post remain our own.

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TRAVEL: Plane and Simple Beauty Essentials

Who doesn’t love a vacation? It doesn’t matter if you’re leaving for the weekend or travelling across the pond, going away is a break in itself, but it can also wreak havoc on your skin. The recycled air at 30,000 feet can leave your skin tight and dehydrated, combine that with jet lag and you have a recipe for dull, dry skin. The last thing anyone wants is to arrive feeling exhausted and less than fresh faced so we’re sharing a few of our travel favourites to minimize the effects of air travel on your skin.
Style Empire Travel

Style Empire Travel

Let’s say goodbye to under eye bags. Apply this in a figure 8 motion around the eyes at the beginning of the flight and before landing to refresh the eye area. The cooling roller ball applicator helps with inflammation, while edelweiss plant stem cells help with skin renewal. $30, Drops of Youth Eye Concentrate, The Body Shop.
Style Empire - Travel, Beauty Essentials, The Body Shop Drops of Youth Eye Concentrate

Make-up is bound to clog your pores during flight. I always have a pack of facial wipes handy to refresh and hydrate your skin and remove any make-up. One without any dyes, artificial perfumes or harsh chemicals is ideal to avoid upsetting your skin. $8, Cleansing Facial Wipes, Simple Skincare.
Style Empire - Travel, Beauty Essentials, Simple Skincare Cleansing Facial Wipes

For those long-haul flights, you might need some extra help retiring your tired-looking skin. This lightweight elixir should be applied before moisturizing and the mix of Evening Primrose oil, Lavender oil and Squaline are sure to help add moisture to your skin. $50, Midnight Recovery Concentrate, Kiehl’s.

Style Empire - Travel, Beauty Essentials, Kiehl's Midnight Concentrate

This is one of my favourites whether I’m at home or travelling. This high performance moisturizer is packed with antioxidants to help protect the skin. Some of the ingredients include lactic acid, a gentle alpha hydroxy acid that helps remove surface dead skin cells and beta-glucan to help give your skin a healthy, rosy glow, so you can walk off the plane fresh not fatigued. $52 (for 2oz), Hope in a Jar, Philosophy.
Style Empire - Travel, Beauty Essentials, Philosophy Hope in a Jar

Between the elixir and moisturizer, you might need a quick refresher. Whether you’re in the plane, running for a bus or just on-the-go, this lightweight toner with Arnica and Cucumber extracts help keep skin smooth and fresh, making it ideal for rehydrating your skin after air travel. .
Style Empire - Travel, Beauty Essentials, Dermalogica Multi Active Toner

Your lips go through a lot on a normal day, so they might need a little TLC. This softening lip balm is enriched with shea butter, jojoba and grapeseed oils and vitamin E. $16, Fabulips Softening Lip Balm, Bliss.
Style Empire - Travel, Beauty Essentials, Bliss Fabulips Softening Lip Balm

When I travel, I tend to overuse the hand sanitizer (there’s something about those lavatories I just don’t trust!). But with that comes super-dry hands. To prevent my paws from getting chapped, I reach for a hand cream with the technology of Caviar nutrients and Torricelumn™ to target dry, rough skin and help my hands feel moisturized and smoother in no time. $50, Caviar Nutruriche Hand Cream, Elizabeth Grant.
Style Empire - Travel, Beauty Essentials, Elizabeth Grant Caviar Nutruriche Hand Cream

Jet lag, bacteria, bug bites – this kit helps minimize it all. This travel kit is carry-on approved and contains five key items (Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, jet lag and travel mist, jet lag and travel remedy, digestion easing remedy and healing skin ointment) to help you stay energized and healthy no matter where you go. The best part, all of the items are 100% natural and all of which smell absolutely delightful.
$40, Travel Safe Kit, Saje Wellness.

Style Empire - Travel, Beauty Essentials, Saje Wellness Travel Safe Kit

Aside from the essentials mentioned above, your #1 friend while travelling will be H2O. Water will keep you hydrated from within – but yes, it might mean you’ll have to use the dreaded lavatory on-board. Airplane air has less humidity than our skin is used to, so it’s essential to give it a bit more love before and after landing. But believe me, if you do, your skin and body will thank you for it.

– Chenessa Lam

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TRAVEL: A Fresh, Modern and Relaxed Stay at andel’s Hotel Prague

My stay in Prague was (too) short and sweet. I really do need to plan a return as 72 hours was not enough to soak it all in. However, my stay was more than comfortable at the andel’s Hotel Prague, where modern comfort meets clean styling. It was the perfect place to set up base and wander the city (for full details of the trip, check out “Prague, a Fairy Tale City that’s a Feast for Your Eyes“).

Style Empire, Travel - Prague

The goal of my trip was to visit the sites but a little shopping never hurt anyone. Located in Smichov neighborhood, andel’s Hotel Prague is just steps away from the metro, a short tram ride away from the main sights (Old Town Square, Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle) and across the street from the Nový Smichov Shopping Center.

I initially took a taxi to get to the hotel but once I arrived, I either walked everywhere or took the tram. The city is very walkable and their metro/tram system is also easy to navigate. The area surrounding the hotel is lovely with many restaurants and shops to satisfy all of your taste buds and shopping needs. Upon check-in, I received a map, which includes all of the major sites and attractions, and coupon-book for shops in the area – as if I needed a push in the right direction!

Style Empire - Travel, andel's Hotel PragueStyle Empire - Travel, andel's Hotel Prague Novy Smichov

If you’re looking for a hotel with comfortable furnishings and modern comforts, andel’s Hotel Prague is ideal for you. Within their 239 guestrooms and suites, you can pick and choose which room, suite or layout you prefer. More than 200 rooms are reserved specifically for non-smoking guests, 2 rooms are designed for guests with restricted mobility and 8 rooms have their own terrace.

During my stay, I was in a one-bedroom suite. It was huge! The room offered plenty of natural sunlight with floor to ceiling windows, a large living area (with a flat screen TV), a work area and a kitchenette. Although I was only there for a short period of time, it would be perfect for those who are looking to stay longer.

I’m often in hotels but the apartment style of the suite made me feel more at home. The desk area is great for those who need to get some work done. However, I prefer to relax. In the evenings, I made a cup of tea and just took a few minutes to unwind by the TV before rolling into bed. It was the perfect way to end a long day of touring the city.

Style Empire - Travel, andel's Hotel Prague Living Area Style Empire - Travel, andel's Hotel Prague Bedroom Style Empire - Travel, andel's Hotel Prague Kitchen AreaStyle Empire - Travel, andel's Hotel Prague

Lounges, Bars and Dining
andel’s Hotel Prague has two restaurants: Delight and Oscars. Guests are invited to a complimentary buffet breakfast at Delight where hot food, pastries and fresh fruit are served. The breakfast buffet is also available for visitors who aren’t guests for 425 CZK per person (just over $20). Delight also offers three private dining rooms and the Crystal room, which are ideal for smaller groups and business meetings. For lunch, dinner or just a drink, we made our way to Oscar’s bar/brasserie. With an outdoor terrace, it is a great spot to sit, relax and people watch.
Andels Hotel Prague - Delight Restaurant

Andels Hotel Prague

Added Extras
Sometimes it’s the small things that make all the difference. When I stepped foot outside of the elevator on my floor, there was a tea and coffee machine with all of the fixings. It’s a nice touch for those who want a quick pick-me-up anytime in the day (or night). There’ also a mini-bar in the kitchen area, complete with soft-drinks, alcoholic beverages, juice and water, for those who might need a stronger pick-me-up.

I really do admire those who work out when they’re away from home – I’m just rarely one of them. I did manage to make my way down to the fitness facility to check out what they had to offer. Within the hotel is the Fitcentre OTO, which is ideal for guests who want a sauna, solarium, steam bath or massage. The fully equipped fitness room offers cardio and strength training machines from Technogym, making it easy to stay in shape, while you’re away.

Style Empire - Travel, andel's Hotel Prague Coffee Style Empire - Travel, andel's Hotel Prague Tea Style Empire - Travel, andel's Hotel Prague Fitness

Prices start from $170/night for rooms and $210/night for suites
CZ-150 00 Prague 5
Stroupežnického 21
+420 (296) 889 688

– Chenessa Lam

Disclaimer: Our media visit was hosted by the hotel, however
the opinions expressed in this post remain our own.

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TRAVEL: Live It To Believe It in Los Cabos, Mexico

After a long and frigid winter there is no better feeling then to pack up and take off, leaving your cares of everyday life behind. Where the Sea of Cortés meets the Pacific Ocean, get ready to fall in love with a luxury destination that is relaxing, rejuvenating and revelry.
Located at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula in the state of Baja California Sur and comprised primarily of the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo is Los Cabos. It goes without question that my recent vacation to Los Cabos, Mexico has now been labeled one on the best trips I have organized thus far. Being a lover for travel, sight seeing and delicious food, I have already been searching out when I can make my return to the sunny and vibrant destination of Los Cabos. From authentic food to relaxation and breathtaking sights to amazing nightlife, Los Cabos is the perfect destination to get away, relax and enjoy. Whether you’re enjoying your all-inclusive resort by the poolside or walking the vibrant streets in the town, there is always something to fill your days and nights with excitement and indulgence.
What To Pack
It’s all about packing the necessities first, in my case, I had a lot of necessities but here are a few that I simply couldn’t leave home without.
Sunscreen: be sure to pack something with a high SPF to protect you from a major sunburn. My favourite is Hawiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance, it is soft and smooth with a shimmer that leaves your skin looking golden and protected from the sun.
Nails: I love wearing vibrant nail colours that pair perfectly with every outfit to save me from switching during my stay. My choices for Cabo were Strut Your Stuff and Haute In The Heat by Essie. To save your nails all vacation long try Essie All In One base and top coat to help strengthen and lengthen the look of your mani and pedi.
Footwear: Be sure to pack comfy and conveniently footwear. It’s important to bring a pair of shoes that are suitable for both day and night, try the TOMS Correa Sandals in Chambray. These are perfect to match with any outfit and can easily be dressed both up and down. For your more adventurous side bring along your HI-TEC slip on shoes, these are perfect for hikes and walks in the town to keep your feet cool and comfortable.
Hair & Brows: Be sure to never leave home without you leave in conditioner and Moroccan oil, you will need this to keep your hair strong and moisturized both during and after sunbathing. Taming your brows is all you will need to do to look your best after a few days of working on your tan. Be sure to pack your all of your brow grooming necessities to enhance your look. Try using Tweezerman’s mini brow rescue kit for a quick and continent fix.
Carry-On: With all these necessities be sure to bring along a bag that not only fits everything but also looks great. This lightweight Stella and Dot carry-on is perfect for carrying everything you need, the lightweight and easy storage size will make your traveling much easier.

We stayed at the Riu Santa Fe, located in the south of the Baja California peninsula, just minutes from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Our room was located in building 7 where we were able to enjoy our outstanding and breathtaking view from our balcony of both the infinity pool and the ocean with the white sandy beaches, turquoise water and the distinctive rocks of Cabo. Our dining experiences on the resort were fantastic, providing us with reservations to all 4 restaurants during our stay and enjoying Mexican cuisine at it’s best. The hotel staff was amazing and always happy to help, offering local knowledge about both the day and night life on and off the resort, whether you stay on your resort or choose to venture off you will always find something to see and do.


Beaches, Bars and Dining
From Cliff Jumping to Snorkeling, Margaritas to Cervezas and Shrimp Tacos to Merlin we managed to fit it all into one week and enjoy every second of what Los Cabos has to offer. As we made our way behind the famed arch, spanning Cabo San Lucas and the Pacific Ocean we had the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the bay, while admiring the sights and resorts in the distance. It has been said that many locals and vacationers who visit Los Cabos must try cliff jumping and I am proud to say that I am now one of those vacationers who have. After what felt like a short swim out to a very large rock and feeling of both excitement and fear creep over me, I did it, I jumped into the Pacific Ocean in Los Cabos and I would definitely do it again.

The nightlife was great, after a few evenings spent in the town it started to feel like home as we made new friends, went to our favorite spots like El Squid Roe and enjoyed a few Dos Equis and Margaritas.

While on vacation we all tend to find that one place we love to eat, for us it was Pachos, a fresh seafood restaurant located in Los Cabos San Lucas on the marina. The restaurant staff was extremely friendly as they greeted us onto the patio with bright smiles and an irresistible seafood menu, from Shrimp Tacos to fresh Merlin cooked 3 ways, we ate like queens during both our visits.


– Vanessa Cioffi

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TRAVEL: Comfort and Contemporary Design at Misafir Suites 8 Boutique Hotel in Istanbul

Situated in the heart of Istanbul on a small backstreet is Misafir Suites 8. This luxury boutique hotel features contemporary décor within a 19th-century building, right in the heart of Beyoğlu. If you’re planning on visiting Istanbul, this is the perfect spot to set up base.

Misafir 8 Suites Boutique Hotel, Exterior
Misafir 8 Suites

A short walk from Taksim Square and just one block from Istiklal Caddesi, one of Istanbul’s busiest pedestrian streets, Misafir Suites 8 is surrounded by small bars showcasing local acoustic artists and quaint coffee shops where locals come to drink Turkish coffee (which is stronger than an Italian double espresso) over a game of backgammon. The street itself is a picturesque cobbled road with vines between the historic buildings – you would struggle to believe you are only a block away from the main shopping street. Within walking distance are the highlights of the area, including the Galata tower, offering spectacular views of Istanbul, a river cruise of the Bosphorus river (suggested by the helpful staff), and a nostalgic tram ride to the main square.

Istanbul Istiklal Caddesi

Upon our arrival to Misafir Suites 8, we were greeted by the friendly reception member who checked us in and showed us to our room. With recent renovations, the hotel has expanded from 7 suites to a total of 21 rooms. We stayed in the Junior Suite, it was spacious and embellished with minimalist furniture design and complementing textiles. The suite was outfitted with in-room amenities such as a fully-stocked minibar, a flat screen TV and a jacuzzi bathtub. The king size bed is fitted with quality linens and the living space is comfortable and offers helpful guide books about Istanbul. Armed with free Wi-Fi, we were left with the promise that if we had any questions to call down or ask at the reception desk.

In the lobby, the reception staff are happy to offer local knowledge about the area ranging from restaurants to eat and the best street food vendors, along with travel/transportation advice, to the ‘must see’ things to do while in Istanbul.

Misafir 8 Suites Boutique Hotel, LobbyMisafir 8 Suites Boutique Hotel, Junior SuiteMisafir 8 Suites Boutique Hotel, Bathroom

Lounges, Bars and Dining
Sekiz, the Misafir Suites 8 bar and restaurant is situated on the hotel’s ground floor. It offers an inviting atmosphere with a good selection of drinks from around the globe, and an impressive Scottish single malt whiskey selection that could rival bars in Edinburgh. From breakfast to dinner, guests can indulge in a multitude of flavours at Sekiz. This is also where the complimentary breakfast is served, which offers traditional Turkish pastries, toast, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggs, fresh fruit and pancakes, along with coffee/tea and our favourite drink during our trip of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Misafir 8 Suites Boutique Hotel, Restaurant

A variety of different rooms are available, however I highly recommend one of the suites as a base for your city break. It’s well worth it! With design and comfort in mind, Misafir 8 Suites is the perfect sanctuary within the bustling streets of Istanbul.

Prices from $220/night
Kuloğlu Mah. Erol Dernek Sok. No:1, 34433 Beyoğlu Istanbul, Turkey
+90 (212) 249 89 30

– Pete Healey

Disclaimer: Our media visit was hosted by the hotel, however
the opinions expressed in this post remain our own.

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